Writing is a socially acceptable form of being naked in public, said Paulo Coelho in a rhetorical tweet not long ago.
Writing is a socially acceptable form of being naked in public
— Paulo Coelho (@paulocoelho) November 1, 2011
When I first came across this line in a weekly magazine, it hit me like a ton of bricks! I was astounded at the impeccable imagery the veteran gave… Why? was my first question… Why is it so simple, yet so discrete? I’ll be honest, I love writing. Dot! I’ve never given much thought to it. It never seemed necessary to question the obvious.
But is that it? Why do I love doing it so much? I didn’t understand the question myself so obviously I failed in finding an agreeable answer.
And thus, began my quest to find out the real meaning and the intent behind this open allusion. The easiest way would have been to google it and read a Coelho critic’s appreciation. But it would not be exciting unless I put some work into it now, would it? I began popping up this avowal, quoting Coelho every time someone said something on its lines. Let me be honest, I was given frowns and smirks that said ‘what an idiot’ all the way…
Now honestly, I don’t know what they meant, the looks. I don’t know if they were the holier-than-thou attitudes of the all-knowing or stifled giggles of total buffoons. But I learnt this – Nobody likes to be naked in public. I mean, some of them were of considerably good deductive and analytical prowess and gifted penmen but they chose not to react or just pass off my question in light humour.
Why? The question comes in again! Was it because they felt uncomfortable when faced with a rhetorical question totally out of the blue? Unlikely. Was it because they wanted time to mull over it? Like me? Less likely, since the topic of conversation was different. Then why?
Now what exactly did naked in this context mean? Does it mean bare and unclothed? Or is it a metaphorical adjective that alludes to something simpler? Something obvious and plain? Blatant…
Then it hit me. Again. I’d liked to have said Inspiration hit me or ideas struck me… But truth be told, a loosely placed Oxford Dictionary fell off the rack and whacked my head. Hard! It was like a sign from God. Leafing through its pages I found a few probable candidates: Naked could mean bare or denuded. It could also mean something simpler –simple. Open. Uncovered.
So here I was searching for a ‘simple’ meaning when the meaning itself was simple (n). Ah, the irony.
Kidding aside, the most probable answer I found for ‘why’ was ‘because they weren’t writing…’ A man is himself unheralded without any mask or subjugated thoughts when he faces himself in a mirror stark naked. Alone. And obtuse. His innermost thoughts surface and manifest into opinions and then sink into the abyss once again leaving a scar that will influence this whole lifetime. Something, somewhat dismally similar involuntarily happens when he is asleep. His feelings, musings, rantings and fantasies alike float around giving birth to dreams. An involuntary cerebral recollection, if you will. Again, alone. And intuitive Unmindful of his surroundings. Now, what is that action that triggers the truth voluntarily and instinctively?
The first is voluntary; triggered by vision and the other perceivable senses. The latter recalled by the mind but not intentionally… Now that action that recollects and weighs out the truth and fallacies of something by making full use of the grey-matter is when you hold a pen compelling it to bleed ink wounding the paper as it does trapping the words in a golden cage letting them cry out loud just as the caged parrot once did before finally accepting her fate and resigning to be just another object whose beauty is admired never understood.
When I was met with frowns every time I piqued my doubt it only was the clothing, the mask hiding the body that I saw. It was never the stark naked truth. Just the salty/sugary coating that dodged trouble. When I looked deeper, I can proudly say I happened to chance across the truth… Now I can look at myself in the mirror and be met with a voice saying, ‘Good. You figured it out.’ My dream self can relax and explore new possibilities. And I? I can pen down my experiments recording a satisfying answer…